And then came Saturday’s surprise.
While the final result wasn’t satisfying to de Boer or his players, there were several positive moments.
The Five Stripes took 14 shots, putting four on goal, only one of which, a header by Adam Jahn in the final seconds, made the goalkeeper work.
George Bello hit the crossbar, which doesn’t count as a shot on goal. Manuel Castro couldn’t reach a quality cross by Brooks Lennon in the first half and missed the goal entirely on two quality opportunities early in the second half.
“The crosses have to be better, but the occupation in the box itself has to of course be better,” de Boer said. “I think the finishing as well. We had two crosses tonight to Manuel Castro and two times he mishit it. So, it’s not a shot on goal, but for me it’s a good chance. In the first half, Brooks gave a good cross that was a little too hard maybe and Castro couldn’t control it. If the ball is a little slower, he can have an easy tap-in or control it and have a big opportunity. It’s not only the delivery, sometimes it’s the play, sometimes it’s the delivery or the occupation in the box.”
Individually, there were several bright spots that support de Boer’s argument. Bello and Lennon were dangerous on the wings. Lennon was credited with two chances created. Bello wasn’t credited with any but he speed was a constant threat down the left and could have had a goal. Defensively, goalkeeper Brad Guzan said he could be more aware but that comes with experience.
Matheus Rossetto, in his first start, was credited with creating two chances.
Jahn, a late sub, proved a a quality target man for crosses with his header arrowing toward the upper corner until saved by David Jensen to deny Atlanta United a valuable point.
Pity Martinez was arguably the team’s best player in the formation. He created a team-high four chances and put two of this three shots on goal. He was most dangerous in the second half when he played wide on the left. From there, he whipped in numerous dangerous crosses. He finished with six crosses from open play and five from set plays. Only one found a target, which may be more a reflection of bad luck than a lack of quality.
“I see a lot of positive things, but we are Atlanta United,” de Boer said. “We want to win every game and that’s the attitude we want to see of course. We are never satisfied with a point or with no points.”
Southern Fried Soccer Podcasts:
Can be found on Google, iTunes and TuneIn
For more content about Atlanta United:
Follow me on twitter @DougRobersonAJC
On Facebook at Atlanta United News Now
Atlanta United coverage on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Have a question? Email me at email@example.com